A few words about hardiness. There are many contributing
factors as to whether a plant will survive.
Location dictates which plants we grow and the soil we have to
grow them in, Whatever type of soil you have be it clay, flinty, chalky, sandy
etc, always make sure you prepare the ground first with plenty of organic
matter. Then if necessary add some coarse grit to help improve drainage. Many
plants from the tropical regions enjoy plenty of water but do not like constant
Towns and cities generate more heat than the wilds of
dartmoor, so the air will tend to be a degree or two warmer.
We all know how cold weather feels but there are many types of
cold. Wet, windy, dry, of a prolonged nature, or a sudden sharp cold snap.
Your own garden can contain many microclimates. A hot dry area
facing South, a cool damp area where the sun rarely visits. Use these
microclimates to your advantage and you will surprised and pleased at what you
The age of a plant can affect the way it copes with cold
snaps. More mature plants will be hardier than younger specimens.
If a plant grows naturally in a cooler climate, then by rights
stock taken from them should be hardier than the stock from the same species
growing in warmer regions or under glass.
All the temperatures we quote are intended as a guide only,
much depends on where you live and the site itself. If you are on top of a hill
it may be well drained, ,but the winds could turn your banana leaves into
shredded wheat! It is probably a good idea to plant the perimeter of the site
with plenty of large shrubs or bamboo to act as a wind break, but there are some
golden rules to give your plants the best chance of survival.
- Make sure that the ground will be well drained even in the
depths of winter.
- Whatever you use, make sure air can still circulate to keep
- The aim is to stop the frosts reaching the plant, so wrap
well without any gaps.
- If mulching make sure it is a good thick layer, 2 inches or
There are many products available to use, here are a few of
- Horticultural fleece
- Straw and chicken wire
- Plastic drainpipes stuffed with straw (make sure you drill
holes through first for that all important air circulation) or use clay drainage
pipes which will let the air through anyway. Place a saucer or tile on the top
to keep the wet out.